March 16, 2023

Rainstorms wreak havoc in Ekiti, Ondo

By Dayo Johnson & Rotimi Ojomoyela 

RESIDENTS of Ekiti and Ondo states have been subjected to anguish and tears as heavy rainfalls had devastating effects on buildings and negative impacts on their economies.

Victims are counting their losses in Ado-Ekiti and the ancient town of Owo, following the havoc caused by rainstorms, during which rooftops of several houses were blown off.

Residents lamented that the first rain of the year, which was expected to bring joy, has left tales of woes and anguish.

105 buildings affected in Ikole —Ekiti

The two-hour torrential rain destroyed over 105 buildings in Oke-Ako, Ikole LGA, rendering several people homeless.

Also destroyed in its wake were some electricity facilities across the town, which has subjected the residents to total blackout.

Ado-Ekiti worst hit

As a result of the downpour, residents of the Irona axis in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, have raised the alarm over some fallen high-tension electric poles connected to a transformer supplying power to streets in the area.

Blackout in some parts of the town may have been caused by the fallen electric poles, due to the torrential rain as residents fear that it could cause a major disaster if operatives of Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, fail to come to their aid.

Mrs Bosede Olajide, a businesswoman in the Irona market lamented that this is causing fear among traders while calling on the authorities to remove the fallen poles.

She said: “The fallen pole has caused a power outage and called on the power company to fix the pole before it takes any life because it is located directly in the middle of the market.”

Ekiti govt to support affected victims

While on a visit to the affected area in Ikole-Ekiti, Governor Biodun Oyebanji condoled with the residents and assured them of the government’s support for victims.

Speaking during an on-the-spot assessment of the affected areas, Oyebanji, represented by his Deputy, Mrs Monisade Afuye, described the occurrence as highly devastating.

The deputy governor was conducted around the affected areas by the Regent of the town, Ogunbiyi Tinuade Adebayo; the lawmaker representing Ikole Constituency 2, Adeoye Aribasoye, and Chairman, Ajoni Local Council Development Area, Michael Ogungbemi.

A statement by the Special Assistant on Media to the Deputy Governor, Victor Ogunje, quoted the governor as expressing delight that no life was lost during the rainstorm .

The statement reads: “On behalf of Governor Biodun Oyebanji, I sympathise with you on the destruction caused to many residential buildings and electricity poles in this town by the rainstorm, which we believe must have affected the wellbeing of the victims.

“Information at our disposal and on-the-spot assessment revealed that roofs of scores of residential buildings and electricity facilities were destroyed during the rainfall, thereby rendering many homeless and helpless.

“We sympathise with the victims at these trying times and plead for calmness, in the sense that a natural disaster of this nature is one occurrence that is difficult to control. But with personal precautions and the right efforts, its effects can be minimised.

“Governor Oyebanji’s administration is ready to support interested individuals who wish to key into its tree-planting programmes, which will soon be rolled out, to safeguard our environment and minimise havoc being wreaked on our buildings by the rainstorm.”

The governor said his administration, in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, recently gave palliatives to scores of flood victims to put a soothing balm on their pains.

“I believe that such laudable gestures shall be extended to you in due course. We care about you and we will continue to support you.

Soon, the government will dispatch palliatives to the victims.

“Be peaceful and take steps to install a substantive monarch to fully take charge for this town to witness radical development. You can’t be without an Oba. That is the best way for you to ensure steady development,” he stated.

Assuring that succour will soon come for the victims, the lawmaker representing the constituency in the House of Assembly, Adeoye Aribasoye, described the present government as merciful and masses-oriented.

Tree-planting as remedy

In his remarks, General Manager, Ekiti State Emergency Management Agency, Mr Jide Borode, said the effect of the rainstorm could have been minimised if the landlords had keyed into the tree-planting initiative of the state government.

Corroborating his assertion, the state governor said: “Tree-planting is very essential. I observed that landlords here are not planting while electricity poles were uprooted and damaged, thereby affecting the electricity supply in the town.

Buildings affected by the storms include residential houses, schools, hospitals, restaurants and shops.

Victims lamented that the first rain of the year brought sadness and sorrow, instead of joy to their families.

Widow, 5 children rendered homeless

One of the victims, a widow, Mrs Florence Agbomola, broke down in tears and begged the government to come to her aid.

Agbomola said that since her husband died some years ago, she has been solely responsible for the upkeep of her children.

 The widow said that the rainstorm has left her and five children homeless.

Another victim, Mr Isaac Ake, whose rooftop was blown off by the storm, appealed to the government to come to his rescue, saying he has no means of putting the house in order again.

Ondo govt, lawmaker, others promise assistance

In a swift response, the state government has promised to assist those affected by the rainstorm.

Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Ayedatiwa, who sympathised with the victims of the rainstorm and the people of the community, promised that the government would not leave them at this trying period of their lives.

Also, the lawmaker representing Owo 1 in the House of Assembly, Oluwole Ogunmolasuyi, said that the state government would assist the victims to reconstruct their damaged houses.